Government bans plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Over 80% of consultation respondents backed by the ban on plastic straws

Plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds will be banned in England from next April, government has confirmed.

The ban will still allow those with medical needs or a disability to use plastic straws.

Over 80% of consultation respondents backed a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, with 90% pushing for a ban on drink stirrers and 89% a ban on cotton buds.

Registered pharmacies will be allowed to sell plastic straws over the counter or online while restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to hand them out if requested.

Using plastic-stemmed cotton buds for medical and scientific purposes will also be allowed.

Government will carry out a stocktake after one year to assess the impact of these measures and whether the balance is correct.

Lauren West, trailblazers manager at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “If disabled people cannot access plastic straws when out it could put their health at risk as they may not be able to drink and could become dehydrated.

“We’re pleased the government has recognised this in its proposals put forward today.”

Over one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said the ban is only part of a much broader approach to tackle plastic waste.

“A system approach is required to the issue of plastics encompassing: the removal of unnecessary plastics; the redesign of necessary plastics to become more recyclable; the use of renewable plastic rather than fossil-based materials.

“In addition, there is a need to replace some plastics with alternative materials where both performance and life cycle are comparable.”

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